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Addiction:
Adoption:
Auto Accidents:
Chaplains, Police, EMT:
Childhood & Adult Sexual Victimization:
Compassion Fatigue:
Culture, Race and Ethnicity:
Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault:
Grief:
Journalists, Survivors and the Media:
Male Sexual Abuse & Domestic Violence:
Partners & Families:
PTSD Treatment & Recovery:
PTSD & Health:
PTSD & Workplace Issues:
Recovery & Self Help:
Resiliency:
School Disasters:
Spirituality & Trauma:
Survivor Guilt:
Trauma Responses in the Aftermath of Disasters:
Veterans & Their Families:
 

Ninth Grader Interviews Frank Ochberg on PTSD

 

Dear Dr. Ochberg:

Hi! My name is Elizabeth. I am in the ninth grade. For my health class, I am doing a project on post-traumatic stress disorder. For this paper, I need to interview three people who have either suffered PTSD, or who are professionals. I got your email off the website Gift From Within and I was wondering if you would be able to take a little time and answer these questions. It would be extremely helpful. Thank you.

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Hi Elizabeth:

I'm delighted to help and will answer in capital letters after each of your questions.

1) Currently and previously what jobs have you held that pertained to PTSD? Basically, what did you do, and continue to do?

I AM A MEDICAL DOCTOR - A PSYCHIATRIST - AND I HAVE BEEN A GOVERNMENT LEADER AT THE NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF MENTAL HEALTH AND OTHER ORGANIZATIONS. BACK IN THE MID-SEVENTIES, WHEN I WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR FEDERAL MENTAL HEALTH SERVICE PROGRAMS, I BROUGHT PEOPLE TOGETHER TO CONSIDER TRAUMA AND VICTIMS. THIS INCLUDED COMBAT VETS, RAPE AND ABUSE SURVIVORS, AND FORMER HOSTAGES.

MY COLLEAGUES AND I RECOGNIZED SIMILARITIES AMONG VARIOUS SURVIVORS OF VIOLENCE. WE WROTE THE DIAGNOSIS, PTSD.

2) What got you interested in mental health and psychology?

(I'M A PSYCHIATRIST, NOT A PSYCHOLOGIST) THAT'S A DIFFICULT QUESTION, ESPECIALLY FOR SOMEONE WHO BELIEVES THAT WE DO NOT ALWAYS KNOW EXACTLY WHY WE BEHAVE THE WAY WE DO. I WAS A VERY GOOD STUDENT. I GOT A SCHOLARSHIP TO HARVARD. I STUDIED SHAKESPEARE. I WENT TO MEDICAL SCHOOL. I FOUND PSYCHIATRY TO BE A GOOD BLEND OF SCIENCE AND HUMANITY. BUT MY CAREER HAS BEEN UNUSUAL, WITH MANY POLITICAL INTERESTS AND OPPORTUNITIES -- NOT A TYPICAL DOCTOR.

3) Other that Post-traumatic stress disorder, what other mental health and psychology issues do you research and get involved with?

AT VARIOUS TIMES I STUDIED (OR CREATED NEW PROGRAMS) THAT DEALT WITH SERVICES TO THE POOR, YOUTH ACTIVITY, POLICE STRESS, JOURNALISTS COVERING EXTREME EVENTS, DISMANTLING ASYLUMS (THE OLD MENTAL HOSPITALS), NEGOTIATING WITH HOSTAGE-HOLDERS, AND -- SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT—OBSERVING ORANGUTANS IN BORNEO!

4) Have you ever been through some sort of trauma? If so, what was the case?

I'VE DEALT WITH THE DEATH OF MY MOTHER WHEN I WAS 16 AND MY SON WHEN I WAS 26; I'VE BEEN IN RIOTS. I'VE HELPED AS A RED CROSS VOLUNTEER AT EARTHQUAKES, FLOODS AND A PLANE CRASH. AND AS A STATE CABINET OFFICER, I'VE HAD MY BUDGET CUT BY $75,000,000 AND HAD TO FIRE 5,000 PEOPLE. THAT'S TRAUMA, TOO.

5) What would your typical day be? Would you meet with patients, teach a class, or sit in an office?

ALL OF THE ABOVE. THAT'S WHY I'VE LASTED THIS LONG AND LOVED IT. MY LIFE HAS ALWAYS BEEN VARIED. AT TIMES, I'D TRAVEL FOR DAYS OR WEEKS. I HELPED THE TEACHERS AT COLUMBINE RECOVER. I'VE WORKED WITH THE FBI TO DEAL WITH SERIAL KILLERS. I'VE BEEN IN THE COMMAND CENTER IN HOLLAND WHEN TERRORISTS TOOK OVER A SCHOOL AND A TRAIN. I'VE BEEN SENT TO SOUTH AFRICA AND CROATIA TO TEACH JOURNALISTS ABOUT PTSD. I'VE EVEN HELPED MISS AMERICA MAKE A PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT ABOUT PTSD. NO DAY IS LIKE ANY OTHER DAY. BUT I DO SEE PATIENTS IN MY OFFICE AND I DO TEACH STUDENTS AT MICHIGAN STATE UNIVERSITY. I KEEP THE SCHEDULE OF PATIENT CARE AND TEACHING VERY LIGHT, SO I HAVE TIME FOR OTHER THINGS.

6) (If you can reveal this information) what were some of the issues that people you have met in your line of work dealt with?

SOME OF THAT IS ANSWERED ABOVE. BUT IN TERMS OF MY CLINICAL WORK (AND MY WORK AS AN EXPERT WITNESS) I'VE SEEN DEATH ROW INMATES, SURVIVORS OF RAPE, KIDNAPPING, WAR, POLICE SHOOTING, CAR CRASH, PLANE CRASH, EARTHQUAKE, INCEST, SPOUSAL ASSAULT - AND MUCH MORE.

7) I understand that you are the founder of Gift From Within, what made you want to undertake this project?

WE NEEDED A CHARITABLE ORGANIZATION FOR SURVIVORS OF HUMAN CRUELTY. AND I REALLY RESPECT THE WOMAN WHO RUNS GFW, JOYCE BOAZ. I WOULDN'T HAVE RAISED THE MONEY FOR JUST ANYONE. I BELIEVE IN HER AS A CARING AND EFFECTIVE HUMAN BEING.

8) How has being involved with these people who have undergone extreme circumstances, influenced your life?

YOU KNOW, I THINK ABOUT THEIR COURAGE AND RESILIENCE AND IMPROVEMENT. I THINK ABOUT THE WAY THEY CARE ABOUT OTHERS. I SELDOM FOCUS ON HOW THEY THEMSELVES ARE HURTING (OF COURSE I KNOW ABOUT THEIR LOSSES AND FEARS AND SHAME). BUT MOST OF THE TIME I FEEL VERY GOOD ABOUT THEM AND ABOUT ALL OF US WHO HAVE BECOME EFFECTIVE HELPERS. SO THESE PEOPLE HAVE GIVEN ME A GOOD LIFE - THEY ARE A SOURCE OF GRATITUDE.

Thank you very much!!! If there is anything else worthy of me knowing, could you please send it with the answers to my questions? This will help me a lot, thanks!!!

ALL I CAN THINK OF NOW IS HOW YOU WILL USE THIS. I HOPE IT ADDS TO YOUR AMBITION TO GET A TOP-NOTCH EDUCATION AND TO USE IT TO HELP OTHERS.

desk150.gif - 10898 Bytes ALL THE BEST,

FRANK OCHBERG, MD

 

Frank Ochberg doesn't have time to answer every letter he receives so please use this letter to help you with your project. Frank sends you his best regards.

 

Dr. Frank Ochberg, GFW's Founder testified in Cleveland for the prosecution in the Castro case. Here is a video clip and a short article.

I am very proud of the work he has done in this case. I am hoping that this case will bring forth a nationwide conversation about the women and men in this country who have been abused behind closed doors.

Respectfully, Joyce Boaz, Director.
http://www.wkyc.com/news/article/308869/3/Psychiatrist-explains-where-the-survivors-go-from-here

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Article Index:

Addiction | Adoption | Auto Accidents | Chaplains, Police, EMT | Childhood & Adult Sexual Victimization | Compassion Fatigue
Culture, Race, and Ethnicity | Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault | Grief | Journalists, Survivors, and the Media
Male Sexual Abuse & Domestic Violence | Partners & Families | PTSD Treatment & Recovery | PTSD and Health
PTSD and Workplace Issues | Recovery & Self Help | Resiliency | School Disasters
Spirituality & Trauma | Survivor Guilt | Trauma Responses in the Aftermath of Disasters | Veterans & Their Families


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Page created on 8 April 2003
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